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The Leading Addictive Substance

The Leading Addictive Substance

National headlines of late have brought the opiate crisis to the forefront of the Canadian healthcare system, inciting a vocal outcry from the media, politicians and communities alike. And rightfully so, with latest statistics from the BC Coroners Service showing that on average, 3.6 people died per day from illicit drug overdose deaths in February 2017.

While these alarming rates deserve such response, one often forgotten fact remains: alcohol continues to be the leading addictive substance for patients at Cedars and many other rehab programs across Canada.

Alcohol and Canadians

Canadians have had a long history with alcohol. It’s not only socially accepted as a part of everyday life, but it’s also widely available at stores and restaurants, as well as social events like sports games, parties, concerts and even when just relaxing. Because it is so socially accepted, it’s easy to diminish its presence and potentially negative effects.

Just how much does alcohol impact the lives of Canadians?

Here are some of the facts:
● In 2013, an estimated 22 million Canadians, almost 80 percent of the population, drank alcohol in the previous year.
● At least 3.1 million of those Canadians drank enough to be at risk for immediate injury and harm with at least 4.4 million at risk for chronic health effects, such as liver cirrhosis and various forms of cancer.
● Around 3,000 infants are born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder each year.
● The estimated cost of alcohol abuse in Canada in 2002 was $14.6 billion.
● Costs related to impaired driving (including alcohol and other drugs) were estimated at over $20.6 billion a year in 2010.

Aside from these staggering figures, alcohol is linked to over 200 different diseases, with countless short-term and long-term health risks. Indirect impacts include impaired driving, reduced productivity, increased health care costs and financial burdens. Beyond health, alcohol can result in significant ramifications on behaviour, relationships, employment and overall well-being.

When Alcohol is a Problem

Because alcohol is so ingrained in Canadian culture, it can be easy for individuals to underestimate how much or how often they drink, and have a tendency to minimize the negative consequences they experience due to drinking, making it difficult to identify when a problem is present. If you, or a loved one, regularly engage in high-risk drinking, it may be time to reach out for help.

While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ method to reduce consumption and alcohol abuse, an alcohol-free future, as well as full recovery, is possible. At Cedars, we can help make that mission a reality by providing the best platform for success, one that’s specifically catered to address issues specific to alcohol rehabilitation.

Contact one of our knowledgeable and trained staff members today to learn more about our alcohol treatment programs.

Stats provided by The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada 2015 “ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION IN CANADA”. For more information visit

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